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NBC/WSJ poll: Public split on impact on rising gas prices

 

Although a new Washington Post/ABC poll shows that rising gas prices have taken a toll on President Obama's political standing, an NBC/Wall Street Journal survey released a week ago found that Americans were split on whether gas prices have affected them.

According to the NBC/WSJ poll, which was conducted Feb. 29 to March 3, a combined 49% said that rising gas prices had either a "great deal of impact" or "quite a bit of impact" on them. But a combined 51% said they had "just some impact" or "not much impact at all."

Yet a majority -- 55% -- said that the government has a good deal of control over gas prices, while 44% said it doesn't.

"I don’t really know that we’re getting a really keen insight into gas prices at this stage of the game," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted the survey with GOP pollster Bill McInturff.

But McInturff adds that gas prices are worth paying attention to in the coming months -- especially since there's a direct relationship between those who indicate they're greatly impacted by rising gas prices, and those who believe the government has control over them.

A final note on the Washington Post/ABC poll: While it suggests that rising gas prices have weakened Obama's standing in the past month -- with his approval rating going from 50% to 46% now -- the survey's sample could also explain this shift.

In February's WaPo/ABC poll, self-identified Democrats outnumbered Republicans by 11 percentage points, 34%-23%, with 37% identifying themselves as independents.

But in the latest poll, Democrats outnumber Republicans, 31%-27% -- so a seven-point swing.